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Foreign Direct Investment


Foreign direct investment (FDI) occurs when a firm invests directly in new facilities to produce and/or market in a foreign country Once a firm undertakes FDI it becomes a multinational enterprise

There are two forms of FDI

1. A greenfield investment - the establishment of a wholly new operation in a foreign country 2. Acquisition or merging with an existing firm in the foreign country

FDI in the World Economy

There are two ways to look at FDI 1. The flow of FDI - the amount of FDI undertaken over a given time period

2. The stock of FDI - the total accumulated value of

foreign-owned assets at a given time Outflows of FDI are the flows of FDI out of a country Inflows of FDI are the flows of FDI into a country


Trends in FDI
Both the flow and stock of FDI in the world economy have increased over the last 20 years FDI has grown more rapidly than world trade and world output because
firms still fear the threat of protectionism
the general shift toward democratic political institutions and free market economies has encouraged FDI

the globalization of the world economy is prompting firms

to undertake FDI to ensure they have a significant presence in many regions of the world

Trends in FDI
Figure 7.1: FDI Outflows 1982-2009 ($ billions)


The Direction of FDI

Historically, most FDI has been directed at the developed

nations of the world, with the United States being a favorite

target FDI inflows have remained high during the early 2000s for the United States, and also for the European Union South, East, and Southeast Asia, and particularly China,

are now seeing an increase of FDI inflows

Latin America is also emerging as an important region for FDI

The Form of FDI

Most cross-border investment involves mergers and acquisitions rather than greenfield investments Acquisitions are attractive because they are quicker to execute than greenfield

it is easier and less risky for a firm to acquire desired assets than build them from the ground up firms believe they can increase the efficiency of an acquired unit by transferring capital, technology, or

management skills


Theories of FDI
Question: Why do firms prefer FDI to either exporting (producing goods at home and then shipping them to the receiving country for sale) or licensing (granting a foreign entity the right to produce and sell the firms product in return for a royalty fee on every unit that the foreign entity sells)? Answer: To answer this question, we need to look at the limitations of exporting and licensing, and the advantages of FDI


Theories of FDI
1. Limitations of Exporting - an exporting strategy can be limited by transportation costs and trade barriers when transportation costs are high, exporting can be

foreign direct investment may be a response to actual or threatened trade barriers such as import tariffs or quotas


Theories of FDI
2. Limitations of Licensing - has three major drawbacks Internalization theory (also known as market imperfections) suggests 1. it may result in a firms giving away valuable technological know-how to a potential foreign competitor 2. it does not give a firm the tight control over manufacturing, marketing, and strategy in a foreign country that may be required to maximize its profitability 3. It may be difficult if the firms competitive advantage is not amendable to licensing

Theories of FDI
3. Advantages of Foreign Direct Investment - a firm will favor FDI over exporting when transportation costs are high

trade barriers are high

A firm will favor FDI over licensing when it wants control over its technological know-how it wants over its operations and business strategy the firms capabilities are not amenable to licensing

The Pattern of FDI

It is common for firms in the same industry to 1. have similar strategic behavior and undertake foreign direct investment around the same time

2. direct their investment activities towards certain

locations at certain stages in the product life cycle


The Pattern of FDI

1. Strategic Behavior Knickerbocker explored the relationship between FDI and rivalry in oligopolistic industries (industries

composed of a limited number of large firms)

Knickerbocker - FDI flows are a reflection of strategic

rivalry between firms in the global marketplace This theory can be extended to embrace the concept of multipoint competition (when two or more enterprises encounter each other in different regional markets,

national markets, or industries)


The Pattern of FDI

2. The Product Life Cycle Vernon - firms undertake FDI at particular stages in the life cycle of a product they have pioneered firms invest in other advanced countries when local demand in those countries grows large enough to support local production firms then shift production to low-cost developing countries when product standardization and market saturation give rise to price competition and cost pressures


The Eclectic Paradigm

Dunnings eclectic paradigm - in addition to the various factors discussed earlier, two additional factors must be considered when explaining both the rationale for and the direction of foreign direct investment
location-specific advantages - that arise from using
resource endowments or assets that are tied to a particular location and that a firm finds valuable to combine with its

own unique assets

externalities - knowledge spillovers that occur when companies in the same industry locate in the same area

Political Ideology and FDI

Ideology toward FDI has ranged from a radical stance that is hostile to all FDI to the non-interventionist principle of free market economies Between these two extremes is an approach that might be called pragmatic nationalism


The Radical View

The radical view - the MNE is an instrument of imperialist domination and a tool for exploiting host countries to the exclusive benefit of their capitalist-imperialist home countries

The radical view has been in retreat because of

the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe the poor economic performance of those countries that had embraced the policy the strong economic performance of developing countries that had embraced capitalism

The Free Market View

The free market view - international production should be distributed among countries according to the theory of comparative advantage the MNE increases the overall efficiency of the world economy The United States and Britain are among the most open countries to FDI, but both reserve the right to intervene


Pragmatic Nationalism
The pragmatic nationalist view is that FDI has both

benefits, such as inflows of capital, technology, skills and

jobs, and costs, such as repatriation of profits to the home country and a negative balance of payments effect

According to this view, FDI should be allowed only if the

benefits outweigh the costs countries in the European Union try to attract beneficial FDI flows by offering tax breaks and subsides

Shifting Ideology
In recent years, there has been a strong shift toward the free market stance creating a surge in the volume of FDI worldwide

an increase in the volume of FDI directed at countries

that have recently liberalized their regimes


Benefits and Costs of FDI

Question: What are the benefits and costs of FDI? Answer: The benefits and costs of FDI must be explored from the perspective of both the host (receiving) country and the home (source) country


Host Country Benefits

The main benefits of inward FDI for a host country are 1. the resource transfer effect 2. the employment effect

3. the balance of payments effect

4. effects on competition and economic growth


Host Country Benefits

1. Resource Transfer Effects FDI can bring capital, technology, and management resources that would otherwise not be available

2. Employment Effects
FDI can bring jobs that would otherwise not be created there


Host Country Benefits

3. Balance-of-Payments Effects A countrys balance-of-payments account is a record of a countrys payments to and receipts from other countries The current account is a record of a countrys export and import of goods and services a current account surplus is usually favored over a deficit FDI can help achieve a current account surplus if the FDI is a substitute for imports of goods and services if the MNE uses a foreign subsidiary to export goods and services to other countries


Host Country Benefits

4. Effect on Competition and Economic Growth FDI in the form of greenfield investment increases the level of competition in a market drives down prices improves the welfare of consumers Increased competition can lead to increased productivity growth product and process innovation greater economic growth


Host Country Costs

There are three main costs of inward FDI 1. the possible adverse effects of FDI on competition within the host nation

2. adverse effects on the balance of payments

3. the perceived loss of national sovereignty and autonomy


Host Country Costs

1. Adverse Effects on Competition The subsidiaries of foreign MNEs may have greater economic power than indigenous competitors because they may be part of a larger international organization
the MNE could draw on funds generated elsewhere to
subsidize costs in the local market doing so could allow the MNE to drive indigenous competitors out of the market and create a monopoly position

Host Country Costs

2. Adverse Effects on the Balance of Payments There are two possible adverse effects of FDI on a host countrys balance-of-payments
1. with the initial capital inflows that come with FDI must be

the subsequent outflow of capital as the foreign

subsidiary repatriates earnings to its parent country 2. when a foreign subsidiary imports a substantial number of its inputs from abroad, there is a debit on the current account of the host countrys balance of payments

Host Country Costs

3. National Sovereignty and Autonomy FDI can mean some loss of economic independence
key decisions that can affect the host countrys economy

will be made by a foreign parent that has no real

commitment to the host country, and over which the host countrys government has no real control


Home Country Benefits

The benefits of FDI to the home country include 1. the effect on the capital account of the home countrys balance of payments from the inward flow

of foreign earnings
2. the employment effects that arise from outward FDI 3. the gains from learning valuable skills from foreign markets that can subsequently be transferred back to the home country

Home Country Costs

The most important concerns for the home country center around 1. The balance-of-payments The balance of payments suffers from the initial capital outflow required to finance the FDI The current account is negatively affected if the purpose of the FDI is to serve the home market from a low-cost production location The current account suffers if the FDI is a substitute for direct exports


Home Country Costs

2. Employment effects of outward FDI If the home country is suffering from

unemployment, there may be concern about the

export of jobs


International Trade Theory and FDI

International trade theory - home country concerns about the negative economic effects of offshore production (FDI undertaken to serve the home market) may not be valid FDI may actually stimulate economic growth by freeing home country resources to concentrate on activities where the home country has a comparative advantage consumers may also benefit in the form of lower prices


Government Policy and FDI

FDI can be regulated by both home and host countries Governments can implement policies to 1. encourage FDI 2. discourage FDI


Home Country Policies

1. Encouraging Outward FDI Many nations now have government-backed insurance programs to cover major types of foreign investment risk can encourage firms to undertake FDI in politically

unstable nations
Many countries have also eliminated double taxation of foreign income Many host nations have relaxed restrictions on inbound FDI

Home Country Policies

2. Restricting Outward FDI

Virtually all investor countries, including the United

States, have exercised some control over outward FDI from time to time countries manipulate tax rules to make it more favorable for firms to invest at home

countries may restrict firms from investing in certain

nations for political reasons

Host Country Policies

1. Encouraging Inward FDI Governments offer incentives to foreign firms to invest in their countries

motivated by a desire to gain from the resourcetransfer and employment effects of FDI, and to capture FDI away from other potential host countries


Host Country Policies

2. Restricting Inward FDI Ownership restraints and performance requirements are used to restrict FDI Ownership restraints -exclude foreign firms from certain sectors on the grounds of national security or competition local owners can help to maximize the resource transfer and employment benefits of FDI Performance requirements - used to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs of FDI for the host country

International Institutions and FDI

Until recently there has been no consistent involvement by multinational institutions in the governing of FDI The formation of the World Trade Organization in 1995 is

changing this
The WTO has had some success in establishing a universal set of rules to promote the liberalization of FDI


Implications for Managers

Question: What does FDI mean for international businesses? Answer:

The theory of FDI has implications for strategic behavior

of firms Government policy on FDI can also be important for international businesses


The Theory of FDI

The location-specific advantages argument associated with Dunning help explain the direction of FDI However, internalization theory is needed to explain why

firms prefer FDI to licensing or exporting

exporting is preferable to licensing and FDI as long as transportation costs and trade barriers are low


The Theory of FDI

Licensing is unattractive when

the firms proprietary property cannot be properly

protected by a licensing agreement the firm needs tight control over a foreign entity in order to maximize its market share and earnings in that country

the firms skills and capabilities are not amenable to


The Theory of FDI

Figure 7.6: A Decision Framework


Government Policy
A host governments attitude toward FDI is important in

decisions about where to locate foreign production facilities

and where to make a foreign direct investment A firms bargaining power with the host government is highest when the host government places a high value on what the

firm has to offer

when there are few comparable alternatives available when the firm has a long time to negotiate